New York Jets Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
After what felt like the longest wait in recorded human history, the 2014 NFL draft is finally upon us.
For New York Jets fans, this year's draft has more significance than ever. Armed with a whopping 12 picks, the Jets will be among the most active participants at the event and have tons of flexibility to make trades and move all around the draft board.
The Jets started off the draft with a bit of an unexpected move, electing to take Louisville safety Calvin Pryor instead of upgrading their offense. How will this move impact the rest of their draft?
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Round 1: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
In a somewhat surprising move, the Jets elected to use their top pick to upgrade their defensive backfield with Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
The "Louisville Slugger" is famous for his hitting ability, exploding down the field to converge on passes and set the tone for the secondary. Because of both his hair and plying style, Pryor is reminiscent of Bob Sanders without the injury concerns.
The issue for Pryor is that it is sometimes unclear is he is able to make so many big plays because he is explosive or if his reactions are late enough to give a quarterback reason to make the throw against him in the first place. Clearly, the Jets believe Pryor's highlight reel is no fluke.
The most intriguing aspect of this pick are the positions the Jets chose to ignore in lieu of Pryor. Despite having Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks to choose from, the Jets elected to upgrade a position that was not nearly as desperate for help. With Antonio Allen and Dawan Landry in place, the Jets could have afforded to wait to address the safety position.
Still, there is no doubt that Pryor is an explosive player that has the potential to turn the Jets' secondary from a weak point into something they can depend on.
Round 2: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
For the first time since 2008, the Jets have used a draft pick on a tight end, this time on Texas Tech product Jace Amaro.
Amaro was rarely used as a blocker at Texas Tech, but he makes up for it with his ability in the receiving game. Amaro has good size for the position and knows how to get open.
Amaro is an ideal "joker" tight end that can be moved all over the line of scrimmage, both detached and attached to the formation. Amaro will be most dangerous in the red zone, where his size advantage is magnified.
This is a tremendous pick for the Jets, as it not only gives them a talented player in the middle of the second round— it fills a huge need at a position that was about as weak as any unit on the roster.
Because of the addition of Amaro, the Jets will not have to lean on the oft-injured Jeff Cumberland to survive the season. Immediately, Amaro turns what could have been a glaring weakness into a potential strength of the team, making life easier for whoever plays quarterback for them next season.
Round 3: Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland
The Jets have finally addressed the cornerback position with the surprising selection of Dexter McDougle out of the University of Maryland.
McDougle's best attribute is his speed—his 4.35 40 yard dash proves that he can run with the fastest players on the field. He has good change-of-direction ability as well, allowing him to stick to receivers even if they fool him with a double move.
The concern with McDougle is his size and his resulting ability to hold up against the run. At just 5'10", it will be a challenge for McDougle to hold up in the run game, especially from the slot position where defensive backs are often asked to be part-time linebackers.
The good news for McDougle is that despite his size, he does have a thick frame that will allow him to hold up better than most defenders his size.
This pick was a bit of a reach, especially considering that Pierre Desir was still on the board. McDougle does inject the Jets' defense with an element of speed, but they may have pulled the trigger a couple rounds too early.
Round 4, Pick 104: Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma
The Darrelle Revis trade has finally reached its conclusion, as the Jets use the pick they got from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to add their first receiver of the draft, Jalen Saunders of Oklahoma.
Saunders is a bit undersized at 5'8", 165 pounds but he certainly does not play like it. Saunders is as tough and physical as they come, unafraid of going over the middle to get contested catches and a vicious blocker.
Saunders will also provide value in the return game, giving them insurance in case Jacoby Ford is unable to hold up physically.
It is expected that the Jets used their first fourth-round pick on receiver, but Saunders has a skill set that strongly resembles Jeremy Kerley. The Jets could certainly use some depth at slot receiver, but they could have waited a bit longer to ad a shorter receiver. Getting a receiver to pair with Eric Decker on the outside should have been the priority.
Still, Saunders give the Jets a tough, high-character player with considerable talent. The challenge for Marty Mornhinweg is to get him involved in the offense without taking Jeremy Kerley off the field.
Round 4, Pick 115: Shaq Evans
After using their first fourth-round selection on a slot receiver, the Jets finally added a desperately-needed outside presence in Shaq Evans out of UCLA.
Evans has good size for the position at 6'1", 213 pounds. His speed is a bit underwhelming (4.51 40-yard dash), but he has the ideal makings of a sure-handed possession receiver in the NFL.
Evans has very good balance, allowing him to do a lot of damage after the catch. He is a bit raw as a route-runner, but his size and balance give him a lot of upside as a potential starter opposite Eric Decker if he gets proper coaching.
Essentially, Evans is the complete opposite player of Saunders as a slow-accelerator who wins with size body positioning rather than speed and quickness.
It took the Jets some time, but they finally filled out their top needs with this selection. While they could still use a speedster to stretch the field opposite Decker, Evans will immediately compete with Stephen Hill and David Nelson for the No. 2 spot.
Round 4, Pick 137: Dakota Dozier, OT, Furman
With all of their top needs taken care of, the Jets have begun to address their secondary needs, starting with the offensive line.
Despite coming from a smaller program at Furman, the appropriately named Dakota Dozier has all of the makings of a NFL-caliber guard at the next level after playing outside in tackle.
At 6'4", 313 pounds, size is not a concern for Dozier. He has a strong base and a muscular frame, which allowed him to dominate the competition at Furman.
However, Dozier is a bit raw in terms of his technique. His footwork needs work to get the most out of his powerful base. His hand placement is also too low, which is something he will not get away with nearly as often in the NFL.
Despite his flaws, Dozier has a lot of upside as a powerful guard in the NFL. With the Jets, he will have time to develop behind Willie Colon and Brian Winters and can turn out to be a terrific player if given the proper coaching.
Round 5, Pick 154: Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State
After spending their first three selections of Day 3 on offensive players, the Jets turned their attention back to the defensive side of the ball by adding linebacker Jeremiah George of Iowa State.
A high-energy, explosive player, there is a lot to like about George as bot a run and pass defender. George can flow from sideline to sideline with ease with his above-average speed and acceleration.
The downside to George is that his smaller stature (5'11") can make him somewhat of a liability in the downhill run game. George may have been brought in to replace David Harris when he hits free agency in 2015, but he does not have nearly the same playing style.
In fact, George's playing style is similar to that of Demario Davis, which could leave the Jets vulnerable against the run at the second level if George were to inserted into the starting lineup.
Still, at this point in the draft, finding fluid and fast linebackers is difficult to do. If he can prove his doubters wrong in the run game, George has a chance to be a steal.
Round 6, Pick 195: Brandon Dixon, Missouri State
The Jets continue to bulk up their secondary depth, spending their first sixth-round pick on Mississippi State prospect Brandon Dixon.
Dixon fits the Jets' pattern of taking fast defensive backs, evidenced by his 4.41 40-yard dash. He has a good natural build for the position at 5'11", 198 pounds that will allow him to hold up on the outside where the Jets need the most help.
Not only is Dixon fast, but he also has good quickness and experience on special teams, where he will spend the bulk of his rookie season.
Dixon has good physical traits, but he needs a lot of refinement in his technique. He has below-average instincts and will struggle to pick up the complexities of an NFL defense.
It may take him some time, but Dixon has some potential as a press-man cornerback at the next level if the Jets are patient enough with him.
Round 6, Pick 209: Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska
The Jets have added plenty of speed to their roster so far, now it is time to add some size. At 6'2", 225 pounds, Enunwa is a load to bring down after the catch. His long, 32-inch arms make it even more difficult to beat him out for contested catches.
What makes him just as attractive as his size is his on-field demeanor. Enunwa is a team captain who follows the Jets' trend of drafting high-character leaders who always show great effort on the field.
He intelligence helps him produce on the field—he is always aware of the situation and plays for his team's success, not his own personal stats.
Where Enunwa falls short is his stiffness and acceleration. He had a solid 40 time at 4.45, but he does not explode in and out of breaks. He also has suspect hands and tends to use his body to reel the ball in far too often.
Still, Enunwa is a versatile player that would be a great fit in the West Coast offense, able to play both the "X" and "Z" position.
Round 6, Pick 201: Ik Enemkpali, DE, LA Tech
The Jets finally use a draft pick on a "pure" 3-4 outside linebacker. Discouting Quinton Coples' position switch, Ik Enemkpali is the first outside linebacker the Jets have drafted since Vernon Gholston in 2008.
With a short, thick build, Enemkpali wins with his strength and power, not finesse. He always plays with a high motor and is known as a film junkie who is truly dedicated to the game.
His character is easy to like, but his upside in the NFL may be limited. Enemkpali is stiff and does not move as fluid as most outside linebackers would need to. His size makes him slow off the snap.
In fact, Enemkpali may stand to actually cut down on his muscle so he can move around a bit easier.
Enemkpali will struggle to take up all of the aspects of playing outside linebacker at the next level, but his work ethic and character make him a difficult man to bet against.
Round 6, Pick 213: Tajh Boyd, QB, New York Jets
Not satisfied with Matt Simms as his third quarterback, John Idzik brings in one of the most decorated quarterbacks in Clemson history, Tajh Boyd.
Boyd began the season as a potential first-round pick, but inconsistent play and poor accuracy led to him taking a massive drop down draft boards as he was exposed for being a product of his environment.
He may struggle with his accuracy, decision-making and mechanics, but Boyd still has a lot of tools to work with. With a strong arms and above-average mobility, Boyd is similar to the two quarterbacks already on the Jets' roster, Geno Smith and Michael Vick.
Boyd will presumably compete with Matt Simms for the third-string job, which won't necessarily be easy. Simms showed some promise in the preseason last year to make Greg McElroy expendable and won't roll over and give the job to Boyd without putting up a fight.
If Boyd does make the squad, he is a nice developmental prospect that may turn out to be a high-end backup if he can improve his decision-making and clean up his mechanics.
Round 7, Pick 233: Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah
The Jets finish out the 2014 draft with the selection of a defensive player, linebacker Trevor Riley of Utah.
Riley is not going to jump off the page with outstanding measureables or outrageous tackle numbers, but he is a coach's dream as a dependable player with off-the-charts intangibles.
Riley was a walk-on safety at Utah, but he has put on enough size to eventually make the move to outside linebacker in the NFL. Reilly wins with his strength, beating blockers with brute force to make tackles.
The downside to Reilly is that he is a bit limited athletically. He is not going to generate a blazing edge rush with explosiveness and flexibility and can be taken advantage of in coverage against smaller running backs.
Still, for a seventh-round pick, the Jets are getting tremendous value with a productive player at a need position that will only be a positive influence in the locker room. After all, if there is anyone who knows how to get production out of overlooked prospects, it is Rex Ryan.